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Red Hood and the Outlaws #0 - Everyone Has to Start Somewhere Review

4

Who is Jason Todd? What's his story in the New 52? This is the issue that reveals it all.

The Good

This is another great example why having these zero issues is a good idea. A year into the New 52, it's apparent that this isn't the DC Universe we're used to. In many cases, we've been left wondering what has or hasn't happened before the first issues. The zero issues are to offer some clarification as to who these characters were before.

Jason Todd is often seen as a sort of complex character. We know he's had a couple different takes in the pre- and post-Crisis world. Lobdell spells out exactly what Jason's story is. In fact, he goes back before he was even conceived.

This isn't just a retelling of what we already do. Because of the time frame instilled upon us, we have more of a sense that a lot has happened in a shorter period of time. It may not exactly be the case since characters don't age normally in comics but the feeling is still there. Some of the adjustments Lobdell makes, in particular with his parents, works out nicely and cuts some of the clutter.

Even though we don't get a full look at the time Jason and Batman spent together, we have an idea. The fact that Joker is thrown into the mix before Jason's death is a huge tease that hopefully will be addressed in the upcoming 'Death of the Family.'

The Bad

I have to admit that the first time I read this, I was unsure of the back up story. It changes a bit of Jason's history in a way. Reading it a second time (yes, I read it more than once before reviewing), it does make sense in a way. Also throughout, there is still the chance that we may not have the full truth about everything.

It's always hard to read an issue when the art team changes. It's understandable when it has to happen in trying to stay on schedule and all. The art in the main feature didn't quite jump out at me as it normally does in this title. It's not fair to necessarily compare artists but it took a little getting used to.

In the past, Jason's dad was said to be working for Two-Face before his disappearance. His status as a low-life is changed a little here. In some ways it's better that there isn't any connection to anything Batman related with his dad but he also lost some of his mystique when it comes to wondering what Jason's dad was like.

The Verdict

Jason Todd's past has been revealed. We get to find out who he was before his death. This is what the zero issues are for. Seeing the life Jason had before let's us know why he is the way he is today. He is far from the perfect character but we can see that he is a product of his environment. His life with his parents and with Bruce offer two completely different inspirations in shaping who he becomes. Joker's appearance here has the potential to change things. We'll have to see how that plays out and it definitely makes things pretty interesting.

26 Comments
Posted by kingmiked

You must be high. Scott Lobdell is KILLING comic books. The Joker had a hand in Jason's being Robin? Are you F#*@ing kidding me? This book was abysmal. Respectfully disagree.

Posted by gorillazman2012

It's not the story that really kills this book, it's the art. If Rocafort is moving to Superman, that's cool but don't get some moron with a biro pen to replace him, you can tell the bit that Kenneth did, same with the last book. It's a true same I really loved red hood and the outlaws, but it seems that it's lacking either the magic of Cupello or Rocafort to bring it back

Posted by CircularLogic

As is the norm for Lobdell, Jason Todd is written brilliantly. But then everything else... the parts with the joker... that was just painful to read. I mean, really. Sense or no sense, it doesn't add anything to the story, it's just Lobdell throwing crap at the wall hoping it will stick. To think I was actually enjoying a Red Hood comic for once...

Posted by Citrus

@gorillazman2012:

I take the jump to join the Redhood party, and I'm greeted with this!? I hope this artist doesn't stay... please... Outlaws vs Superman needs to be awesome.

Posted by feargalr

I have been so back and forth on Lobdell in the new 52, but this book kinda blew my mind. The back up in particular I loved, yes its a change to an origin, but new 52, might as well change things up, and I personally love this new take on things.

It makes the Joker even more of a terrifying villain to know that he is capable of carrying out plans like this. Who knows what else he has in the works!? I like the ramifications for Jason too. It certainly adds depth to this origin, and I think it makes his origin a hell of a lot more interesting. Hopefully it will tie nicely into the Death Of The Family too.

Posted by danhimself

after I finished the back up story I was filled with absolute glee in knowing that the forums of the Vine will soon be filled with fanboy rage and it will be sooo much fun to watch....seriously though Lobdell is awesome!

Posted by GBrutality

i didn't mind this "origin" compared to some others. what really screws EVERYTHING up is this whole the joker made jason todd thing. i don't know if this was some weird story telling device, and if so..um..okay(?) but that's a crazy idea. you're telling me the joker knew HE was robin. so how hard would it be to link that batman is bruce wayne?

Posted by VampireSelektor

@GBrutality said:

i didn't mind this "origin" compared to some others. what really screws EVERYTHING up is this whole the joker made jason todd thing. i don't know if this was some weird story telling device, and if so..um..okay(?) but that's a crazy idea. you're telling me the joker knew HE was robin. so how hard would it be to link that batman is bruce wayne?

Perhaps he does not care about Bruce Wayne.

Posted by JamDamage

Loved it. Jason Todd just became my favorite Robin

Posted by JamDamage

@VampireSelektor: Before the new 52 started there were some conversations on here that the Joker might actually know who Batman is. When, and if the Joker does make it known he knows who Batman is, then I think it would be safe to say that he'll have known for a while who Batman is. This would a pretty cool way for him to have figured that out.

Posted by neiliusprime

I'm sure more questions will be answered in the Death of the Family story arc. I like Jason Todd's character in the New 52, I just wished Red Hood & Outlaws were overall written better...

@GBrutality said:

i didn't mind this "origin" compared to some others. what really screws EVERYTHING up is this whole the joker made jason todd thing. i don't know if this was some weird story telling device, and if so..um..okay(?) but that's a crazy idea. you're telling me the joker knew HE was robin. so how hard would it be to link that batman is bruce wayne?

That's the only thing I didn't like about the issue.

Posted by VampireSelektor

@JamDamage: Grant Morrison hinted that Joker knew Bruce Wayne is Batman in Batman R.I.P. during the black and red flower petal scene. It's funny how Joker *probably* knows who Batman is, not just civilian ID, but who really is, while Lex Luthor knows neither about Superman.

Posted by feargalr

@VampireSelektor said:

@GBrutality said:

i didn't mind this "origin" compared to some others. what really screws EVERYTHING up is this whole the joker made jason todd thing. i don't know if this was some weird story telling device, and if so..um..okay(?) but that's a crazy idea. you're telling me the joker knew HE was robin. so how hard would it be to link that batman is bruce wayne?

Perhaps he does not care about Bruce Wayne.

That bugged me too, but at the same time according the new 52 Bruce Wayne has a 10 year old son, who was conceived after he became Batman 6 years ago :/

But....We know Batman can set up new identities for people, no reason he shouldn't be able to pretty much destroy all record of Jason Todd ever existing the moment he decided to adopt him and then give him a new identity. The Joker obviously wasn't going to be following Jason 24/7 because theres a good chance Batman would spot that, so one day the Joker sends someone to check up on him, but Jason is gone, the joker has no idea where, and he can't track him down because Jason Todd as he knew him no longer exists. But the Joker doesn't care because he knows the only reason he doesn't exist is because Batman has taken him in, so now all he has to do is play the waiting game.

Posted by Ganthetsward20

I liked it, it was making changes to a character! DC new 52 hasnt been doing to much of that and the very idea that the joker had a hand in choosing who batman's robin was is a very good way to show that its not impossible for Batman to play into someone's hand. Joker is a crime kingpin he has the pull to do that from my understanding of things so far. I liked that comic a lot and i felt for Jason more so now then i did before.

Edited by BlackArmor

Liked the revaluations in the back up but didn't like how the back up was executed.

Posted by noj

I really liked this issue and I actually dig the insertion of the Joker into Jasons origin. It was done in a crazy and random way that almost doesn't make any sense but thats how the Joker can be. On a sidenote I thought the outfit the Joker was dressed in when he dropped Jason at Leslies Clinic was hilarious for some reason.

Posted by daredevil21134

I honestly didn't like this issue

Posted by ThanosIsMad

Everything was fine until the Joker backup.

Posted by Zoch81

I really like this issue the art was different but still good and Lobdell really good at writing Jason Tood I also thought he was good doing Joker as well overall was a good issue.

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Posted by Imagine_Man15

Loving this series more with every issue

Posted by Benjoman

@feargalr said:

@VampireSelektor said:

@GBrutality said:

i didn't mind this "origin" compared to some others. what really screws EVERYTHING up is this whole the joker made jason todd thing. i don't know if this was some weird story telling device, and if so..um..okay(?) but that's a crazy idea. you're telling me the joker knew HE was robin. so how hard would it be to link that batman is bruce wayne?

Perhaps he does not care about Bruce Wayne.

That bugged me too, but at the same time according the new 52 Bruce Wayne has a 10 year old son, who was conceived after he became Batman 6 years ago :/

But....We know Batman can set up new identities for people, no reason he shouldn't be able to pretty much destroy all record of Jason Todd ever existing the moment he decided to adopt him and then give him a new identity. The Joker obviously wasn't going to be following Jason 24/7 because theres a good chance Batman would spot that, so one day the Joker sends someone to check up on him, but Jason is gone, the joker has no idea where, and he can't track him down because Jason Todd as he knew him no longer exists. But the Joker doesn't care because he knows the only reason he doesn't exist is because Batman has taken him in, so now all he has to do is play the waiting game.

But usually a writer should consider that when writing a story, which clearly he didn't or else it would've been mentioned or hinted in some way.

Anyway, except for this logic flaw I liked how Jason's origin story was told, although I prefer Nightwing #0.

Posted by feargalr

@Benjoman: Very true

Posted by VampireSelektor

@Benjoman said:

@feargalr said:

@VampireSelektor said:

@GBrutality said:

i didn't mind this "origin" compared to some others. what really screws EVERYTHING up is this whole the joker made jason todd thing. i don't know if this was some weird story telling device, and if so..um..okay(?) but that's a crazy idea. you're telling me the joker knew HE was robin. so how hard would it be to link that batman is bruce wayne?

Perhaps he does not care about Bruce Wayne.

That bugged me too, but at the same time according the new 52 Bruce Wayne has a 10 year old son, who was conceived after he became Batman 6 years ago :/

But....We know Batman can set up new identities for people, no reason he shouldn't be able to pretty much destroy all record of Jason Todd ever existing the moment he decided to adopt him and then give him a new identity. The Joker obviously wasn't going to be following Jason 24/7 because theres a good chance Batman would spot that, so one day the Joker sends someone to check up on him, but Jason is gone, the joker has no idea where, and he can't track him down because Jason Todd as he knew him no longer exists. But the Joker doesn't care because he knows the only reason he doesn't exist is because Batman has taken him in, so now all he has to do is play the waiting game.

But usually a writer should consider that when writing a story, which clearly he didn't or else it would've been mentioned or hinted in some way.

Anyway, except for this logic flaw I liked how Jason's origin story was told, although I prefer Nightwing #0.

On the other hand, Joker over the years has demonstrated a certain "meta-awareness" of events for which he should have no knowledge. Luthor's conversation with Death, for example, was not privy to any third party. And yet, Joker knew about the encounter all the way from prison. Although I have not read Red Hood and the Outlaws #0, I would not put it past Joker to manipulate Jason into the role of Robin just to murder him and spite Batman.

Posted by KnightRise

Would've gotten a high 4/5 in my book. Lobdell does awesome work with Jason, but why can't he do the same for TT?

@GBrutality: You think Joker thinks logically? Or with consistancy?

Posted by Elfaki

What bugged me a lot, was the fact that there was NO connection of the past to the present. Not ONE panel, like Higgings did with Nightwing #0 and so on. A mention of Roy and Kory would be nice. How Jason and Roy became friends/partners, how they first met. We know about Kory and Jason, how about Jason and Roy?  
Also the Joker having a hand in Jason becoming Robin could go either way, if it is written well it could be a killer story and character development , but I don't get my hopes up.  
Generally I found this issue kinda disappointing...

Posted by PopRock123

I like this issue the background info was weird but overall I liked the issue.